Bitcoin webinar examines currency details
FINGER LAKES – With Bitcoin operations becoming more prevalent as technology evolves, the Nonprofit Environmental Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes hosted a webinar on Tuesday, January 19. The presentation helped educate the public about Bitcoin and the impact of production facilities. Greenidge Generation’s recent conversion on the west side of Seneca Lake from a networked power plant to a private bitcoin operation has sparked significant local interest in cryptocurrency. The webinar featured former mayor of Plattsburgh and current finance professor Colin Read.
Bitcoin is a digital currency used online to give money to another party without an intermediary. This type of transaction is called peer-to-peer. To use this payment method, a user will have an online wallet that can be used to send or receive Bitcoins over the internet. Each transaction is recorded in a ledger and anyone can configure the computing power of the network to complete the transactions. A reward is paid for using computing power to complete the transaction. Although the word mining is generally used to describe this process, there is no mining in the form of physical excavation, as the word is generally used. Rather, Bitcoin mining refers to the extraction of value through the use of computers.
In general, two major challenges make this process difficult for most businesses to pay off. The first problem is that the computers that do the mining use a lot of energy. The second problem is that computers have to stay cool.
“I want to teach you a little bit about how cryptocurrency works, because often the industry tries to pretend it’s something it’s not, something too advanced for you all to understand and whatnot. that’s not the case, ”Read said.
“Every 10 minutes a Bitcoin is mined or discovered by a machine of which there are millions around the world,” Read said. “But only one machine gets that Bitcoin, and if you have a big transaction, you could mine a Bitcoin once a day or several times a day, (which is currently worth around $ 36,000.)”
The more machines you have, the more likely you are to be able to mine Bitcoin.
“On average, a single machine wins about every 10 minutes or so, so they all compete for that prize and [using] a huge amount of electricity in the process to be able to encode (the new Bitcoin), ”Read said.
The system, which is designed to prevent an individual or entity from being able to access the code of massive amounts of individual Bitcoin, is not difficult to participate.
“So it’s not very complicated, if you bought one of these machines, which you can buy one for about $ 500 on the internet, it might take a novice an hour or two to maybe install it. first machine, the technology isn’t very complicated … so it’s not rocket science, ”Read said.
Plattsburgh, where Read was the former mayor, was originally attractive for Bitcoin mining operations due to the incredibly low utility costs combined with access to the enormous amount of water in Lake Champlain. This allowed Read to help create a series of new local laws to ensure the industry does not increase utility costs for residents or endanger the public.
The Greenidge production plant, a Torrey-based Bitcoin operation owned by Atlas Holdings in Connecticut, operates at a converted natural gas-fired power plant and is currently in the process of getting approval to expand the operation. The facility has the advantage of drawing power “behind the meter”, as the production occurs on site and the water from Seneca Lake can be used to cool the computers.
Concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Seneca Lake have been at the center of the concerns of groups opposed to the project. They brought an action to publicize the project and the expansion. No hearing date has yet been set.
“Greenidge rejects water up to 108 degrees into the Keuka outlet, which flows directly into Seneca Lake, which puts stress on trout and other cold-water fish, and increases risk spawning that occurs every year in the creek, ”said Kate Bartholomew, of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Hot water will increase the incidence of harmful algal blooms, exacerbating an already troublesome problem for the Finger Lakes. In addition, the system does not use protective measures to prevent fish, eggs and other aquatic species from being killed at their water intake point. “
“We in the Seneca Lake neighborhood and watershed really want to better understand the impact not only on the economy but also on the environment,” said Abi Buddington, representative of the Finger Lakes Preservation Committee. “We and others have raised many concerns about water discharge, water withdrawal issues, the fact that there are no fish screens at the moment, greenhouse gases. and noise and concerns about increased operations “,
Buddington said the CTPFL reached out to Read to host the webinar to help further educate the public on the subject.